The car business has grown more and more commoditized with each passing year, driven largely by the consumer web and droves of lead-generation platforms that drive dealerships into a bidding frenzy over car sales. Car dealerships really make all their money off pre-owned sales and their service department.
Here's the typical experience at a car dealership's service department:
I get a boiler-plate post card telling me I'm due for my next service/oil change/etc. I call in to schedule a time and speak with someone at the service desk. On the appointed day I arrange a ride and drop my car off at said dealership. The Service Writer asks me a few questions and confirms what type of service the car is in for, walks out and hangs a tag on my rear-view mirror and then sends me on my way. Later that day I get a call or text from the service desk telliing me my car's ready. When I arrive, the Service Writer tells me what was done, if they found anything out of the ordinary, etc, and then processes my payment and sends me on my way with a smile. (and maybe a self-addressed survey card)
You've likely all had this experience. It's consisntent across the industry. Hassle to change and loss of convenience are likely the primary drivers for people using the same service business repeatedly, not connection or loyalty. The moment a competitor addresses the convenience factor and demonstrates credibility, it'll be easy for customers to go elsewhere.
Issuing cards to all your techs is just one simple step to increase customer loyalty and create a point of pride within the service department. There's all kinds of ways you can build on this first step, but this is a positive starting point.
Here's 5 reasons for doing this:
1) Point of pride for the tech- see #2. He/She is no longer anonymous.
2) natural point of accountability- your name and face is on your work. You may see that person at Whole Foods that evening.
3) A sense of team- currently technicians are anonymous to the customer and not really in the same service delivery funnel as the service desk. They’re not customer-facing.
4) Personalize the service the customer received. There’s a face attached to that $375 they just paid.
5) Stronger connection to the brand. Another layer besides the service writer and the ads they [don’t] see in the newspaper.
You really could apply this across the service industry. The anonymity piece isn't unique to the car business. Where are anonymous roles in your business that you could personalize to create a stronger connection with your customers?
Chris Nordyke is an integrated marketer and strategy consultant. He works with owners and senior business leaders to transform and grow service companies via a unique holistic approach that drives referral business and client retention. Click here to schedule a complimentary consult with Chris.